by Kaitlyn Tyra
Amidst a busy day with our spring ice cream social and our first pre-law society meeting, Ambassadors added one more adventure to the list. They travelled to hear one of the most famous journalists of our time, Carl Bernstein, who would be speaking about the presidency and society. Hosted by the Congregation Emanu El, the legendary journalist discussed his role in Watergate, his career in journalism, and his views on the current political scene.
Carl Bernstein, a young reporter at the Washington Post, got his “big break” when he and his fellow reporter, Bob Woodward, were assigned to report on a break-in at the Watergate office in Washington DC in the year 1972. What was thought to be a simple matter of a break in, unraveled into a massive scandal touching many powerful political figures and ultimately leading to the resignation of the President Richard Nixon. Bernstein later wrote a book with Bob Woodward on the scandal titled All the President’s Men, which was turned into a hit movie starring Robert Redford (Woodward) and Dustin Hoffman (Bernstein).
However, Carl Bernstein was not in Houston to speak at length about the Watergate scandal or his book. Instead, the program focused on “Washington, the Media, and the Presidency: From the Age of Nixon to the Age of Trump”. Bernstein spoke about the role of the media and the controversy surrounding President Trump, specifically his social media presence. Bernstein believes the Trump presidency has given way to the best press reporting of all time.
He spoke about the campaign and both major party candidates. Bernstein acknowledged that the truth is often difficult to decipher amidst the noise of politics. He stressed that the nation is in a “Cold Civil War” between the two parties and that party cooperation is at a standstill. Bernstein explained that America has grown into a celeb culture where citizens are more interested in learning the gossip rather than the facts. Bernstein’s observations confirmed many of the audience member’s frustrations with today’s society.
Before the end of the program, Bernstein took questions from the audience which focused mainly on civic engagement and party cooperation. Bernstein’s overall message was one of objectivity. He stressed looking for the real facts and listening to both sides of the argument. For reporters and journalists, their jobs are not to make decisions for their readers or express their personal opinions, but to give the facts citizens need to reach their own conclusions. We appreciated the message and enjoyed learning from Mr. Bernstein.
With satisfaction from attending the event, we made our way home to Huntsville.